Zim, Botswana in multi-million dollar rail talks
Takunda Maodza News Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa and his Botswana counterpart Seretse Ian Khama are keen to have work on the construction of a railway line linking the two countries to Mozambique starting soon.
The coming into office of President Mnangagwa in November last year has seen relations between the two neighbours blossoming.
In the latter part of former president Robert Mugabe’s tenure, Zimbabwe and Botswana did not see eye to eye.
In an interview at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Saturday on his return from Botswana where he, together with President Khama and President Edgar Lungu of Zambia, inspected progress of the construction of a rail road bridge in Kasane, President Mnangagwa said: “When I had discussion last time with President Khama, we discussed the issue. Khama is very interested in rescucitating the project. We are also very anxious to rescucitate the project, so the issue has now been put before the Joint Commission to discuss the way foward but at the principals’ level we agreed that we must rescucitate the project.”
If the project succeeds, it will become one of the most notable infrastructure projects in the region, as it will link more than two Sadc countries.
The railway line is expected to link Francistown in Botswana, Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and the Mozambican port of Techobanine to facilitate regional trade.
In 2016, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the project.
According to that MoU, each country is expected to provide US$200 million towards the cost of the project, with the rest of the work to be done through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
On completion, the railway line will facilitate inter-regional trade through the movement of passenger rail traffic and up to 12 million tonnes of goods per annum through Zim, Botswana in multi-million dollar rail talks the three countries.
Zimbabwe is opening up for business and President Mnangagwa has set about mending political and economic relations in Sadc and beyond.